How Brand Perception Can Aid Customer Retention During Economic Uncertainty

The question of ‘why did it take so long for inflation to impact consumer spending?’ has been puzzling both the Bank of England and Government Advisors for the past year or so; and we think we know one of the largest contributing factors: Brand Loyalty and Customer Advocacy.

We’re certainly not economists but – like the rest of the world – we anticipated some fallout from Brexit, the Covid-19 pandemic, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. And as anticipated, it came in the form of the Bank of England consistently increasing the base inflation rate between December 2021 and August 2023 – a whopping 5% increase over 20 months!

 

chart showing the increasing inflation rate set by the Bank of England for Britain.

Source: Bank of England Database

Although it was predicted that inflation would rear its ugly head, not many people expected it to take quite such a drastic increase to curb spending.

In this article, we’re focusing on consumer spending and our theory on why it took so long to see a real impact from inflation hitting people’s wallets and purses.

 

Tesco clubcard on ios app with tesco website in the background.

 

This is what brand loyalty is all about

While the economic landscape has been shifting like sand under our feet, consumer spending remained surprisingly resilient for a considerable period. This resilience, we believe, is largely attributed to the power of brand loyalty.

Put simply, brand loyalty appeals to two of our core human instincts:

  1. Risk Aversion
  2. Confirmation Bias

 

shopper in supermarket picking up a familiar brand of pasta


Risk Aversion

When prices are rising, it is not the time to flutter your hard-earned pennies and pounds on the gamble of somewhere you’ve never been before. This awareness of risk aversion has been fuelling consumer loyalty schemes for decades, but it’s always more prevalent during an economic downturn.

For example, take Britain’s “favourite” supermarket: Tesco. On a purely logical basis, it would have made sense for every shopper in Britain to take their custom to Aldi during the cost-of-living crisis – in doing so saving each household an average of £880 per year – however, Tesco remains unwavering as the king of the UK grocery monarchy.

Why?

We trust Tesco. Not just with our cash, but also with our data. The new Clubcard prices strategy (although scrutinised quite heavily) has resulted in a staggering 20 million plus households across Britain now being signed up to the scheme.

“Against a backdrop of profound change, Tesco has many unique advantages. Our ability to reward loyalty through Clubcard enhances our relationship with customers.” – Ken Murphy, Tesco CEO.

 

Nectar card offers on poster for loyal Sainsburys customers

Confirmation Bias and Brand Perception

A twist to this tale though is how brand perception also affects consumer spending.

In May 2023 we (I’m using the royal we) crowned a new King, and it appears the nation thought there was only one supermarket that embodied such a celebration: Waitrose.

Normally viewed as the grocery choice for those that can afford the finer things in life, during the coronation, Waitrose enjoyed a 4.8 per cent hike in sales over the twelve weeks, the highest rate of growth the retailer has achieved since early 2021.

This is a fantastic example of where confirmation bias and brand perception overlap.

Confirmation bias is our inclination to favour and recall information that supports our existing beliefs, while ignoring or forgetting data that contradicts them.

So for a hypothetical example, you might have not been back to Waitrose after buying a sub-par potato dauphinoise in March, but you’re willing to put that to one-side, safe in the knowledge that it’s the only supermarket with the quality of goods to really deliver on a buffet fit for royalty in May.

In short: If you believe strongly in the brand, you’ll ignore their mistakes.

 

 

The power of a strong brand

“If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand.” – Howard Schultz, former CEO of Starbucks

So let’s talk about the difference a strong brand can make during tougher times. Do you remember hoverboards? – The horizontal things with two wheels that were all the rage in 2015-17:

Once upon a time, these were flying off shelves of toy stores and on every kid’s Christmas list. However, one slight snag…  quite a few kept catching fire while charging. So naturally, everyone stopped buying them.

Makes sense.

Now what if I told you, the same thing happened with Smartphones?
In 2016-17 hundreds of Samsung Note 7 smartphones started exploding, leaving consumers hot-headed – and presumably with even hotter hands.

However, here we are in January 2024 and Samsung has just taken over Apple as the global largest seller of smartphones. So evidently, not many people stopped buying from them.

 

The difference = brand perception.

Hoverboards, despite their popularity, were (and continue to be) produced by numerous manufacturers globally, which has resulted in a race-to-the-bottom price war.

Unfortunately, this meant that small profit margins left no room for a high-quality brand to enter the market and invest in making the technology better, more reliable, or even less-flammable.

This resulted in consumers taking their gripes up with the product, rather than the manufacturer, leading to declining sales ever since 2019.

Large exhibition display for Samsung Technology stating the tagline "Your New Normal"

However, in Samsung’s case, they’d built such a strong reputation as a trusted technology manufacturer, not only were they able to conduct proper product testing, recall thousands of units and publish numerous press releases to calm disgruntled consumers; they were also able to reward those customers affected with exclusive gifts and go on to increase smartphone sales year-on-year to date.

This is a rather extreme example, but it demonstrates the flexibility and hardiness a strong brand can provide.

 

A large boots retailer store in London

Did you know?Since starting as a Nottingham herbalist shop in the 1800s, Boots has grown to be the UK’s top health and beauty retailer and its most trusted brand, with a net trust score of 60.14. Like in France, Germany, and Italy, Brits view trust as crucial in healthcare.

 

 

5 Key steps to building a brand your customers trust

We’ve covered the ‘why’, so now it’s time to think about the ‘how’.

“The key is no matter what story you tell, make your buyer the hero.” – Chris Brogan

To have a brand that acts as the keystone of your relationship with customers, supporting you in tougher economic times (such as a period of inflation), we’ve put together 5 key considerations that are vital to get right.

1. Communicate, Engage, and Listen:

Why It’s Important: Effective communication is the cornerstone of any strong relationship. By engaging with and listening to your customers, you demonstrate that you value their input and are committed to meeting their needs. This fosters a deeper connection and builds trust.


Actionable Steps
:

    • Regularly update customers about business activities through your website and social media channels.
    • Create accessible feedback channels, either through internal methods such as email, customer service systems, and website product reviews; or via 3rd party platforms like an active Google Business Profile or Trustpilot.
    • Respond promptly and thoughtfully to customer interactions – both good and bad.

Smart phone displaying a customer feedback survey.

 

2. Reward Loyalty:

Why It’s Important: Recognising and rewarding loyalty shows customers that their continued patronage is appreciated. This not only strengthens existing relationships but also encourages repeat business and positive word-of-mouth referrals.

Actionable Steps:

    • Introduce, and actively promote, a loyalty programme with meaningful rewards, extra points if your reward scheme is ongoing rather than a one-off discount.
    • Host exclusive events for customers and marketing sign-ups. This can be a great way to engage with various customers whilst they’re at different points of the buying journey.
    • The very best companies are now offering personalised discounts and recommendations based on previous interactions.


3. Encourage Advocacy
:

Why It’s Important: Customer advocacy extends your brand’s reach and credibility. When customers share their positive experiences, it acts as a powerful endorsement, attracting new customers and reinforcing the loyalty of existing ones.

If you don’t do this already, start today by making someone liking or commenting on your social posts feel like they’re a superstar for supporting your brand.

Actionable Steps:

    • Promote user-generated content on your platforms. This includes testimonials, customer photography, and unique use cases.
    • Use each social platform as a different way of communicating with your audience. Use posts to start conversations, rather than always trying to drive followers back to a website or conversion page.

 

Woman sitting in Tesla dealership after referring a friend to their customer referral programme

 

4. Deliver the Right Quality and Service:

Why It’s Important: Delivering consistent levels of quality products and services is fundamental to maintaining customer trust and satisfaction. It sets the standard for what customers can expect from your brand. We’re not suggesting it must always be high-quality, but it should fit your brand – for example, you don’t expect a sommelier to offer you a scent test of your Sprite at McDonalds.

Actionable Steps:

    • Ensure any staff are trained in delivering customer service in a way that aligns with your brand values.
    • Provide comprehensive customer service training.
    • Offer support to your customers at every stage of their buying journey. This includes making information easy to find during research and supplying comprehensive after-sales support.

5. Price for Success:

Why It’s Important: Correct pricing is not just about increasing prices. It’s about implementing a strategy that increases profits without damaging the business or losing clients. This delicate balance is essential for long-term business sustainability.

Actionable Steps:

    • Conduct market research to understand pricing dynamics and regularly review your pricing. This includes analysing competitor pricing and ensuring your offering is value-based rather than just price-focused.
    • Ensure your branding aligns with your price point. This will help customers to get a feel for your brand, understand your ethos, and ultimately begin a two-way relationship.
    • Partner with pricing strategy experts like Pricemaker for tailored advice and guidance that will help increase profits while also ensuring customer retention.

By focusing on these key areas, you can build a brand that resonates with customers, earning their trust and loyalty even in challenging economic times.

 

Retailer signage and advertising displays in Leicester Square London.

The delayed impact of inflation on consumer spending is a testament to the strength of brand loyalty and customer advocacy.
In these challenging economic times, nurturing these aspects of your business is more crucial than ever. It’s about building and maintaining relationships, being transparent, and showing appreciation.

If you’d like to futureproof your brand and discuss how you could drive more sales or enquiries in today’s market, get in touch today for a no-obligation chat about what you’re looking to achieve and how Tomango can support you.

 

Get to know our Head of Digital Marketing – Glenn Davidson

We’re delighted to announce we have a new digital marketer on the Tomango team, helping us take our client’s online activity to new levels.

Please meet our Digital Marketing Lead, Glenn Davidson.

Glenn joined us in March and is already making an impact by elevating the online profiles of our clients, and improving Tomango’s own digital marketing strategy. Having previously worked with household names such as Tesco, Accor and Netflix, Glenn brings a wealth of experience across the full marketing-mix to Tomango and we’re very excited to have him joining the team.

After a few weeks in the role, we sat down with Glenn over a coffee to talk about all things digital and find out how he’s fitting into life with Tomango.

”Hey Glenn, thanks for taking the time to chat. How have your first few weeks been?

So far, the time’s flown by. It’s been very fast-paced getting to grips with our range of clients and understanding their unique requirements, USPs and objectives. Thankfully you, James and Mike have been incredibly accommodating and all helped me settle in quickly.

It’s also been an adjustment coming back into an office after years of remote working, but it’s been a breath of fresh air… and I’m starting to think my dog was getting sick of me ranting to her about GA4!

So that all sounds very positive; have you come across any particular challenges so far?

It’s clear Tomango functions like a well-oiled machine and – like with any job – it takes a bit of time to figure out how best to fit into an established business with procedures that are slightly different to what you’re used to.

That being said, there’s a brilliant mix of talent in the team and I’m excited to see what we can all achieve going forward.

At the moment I’m just working on getting everyone’s hot drink orders memorised.

Ha – yeah, it’s all about priorities right? Now, you’re in quite a privileged position in that you’ve worked in agencies and client-side in the past…

Yeah, I started my marketing career working in agencies and absolutely loved it. Like a lot of marketers, I thrive in a creative and fluid environment, and agencies – like Tomango – have a unique way of bringing a group of experts together to channel their different skills in solving a wide variety of business challenges.

But more recently I applied my skillset to working client-side as a Marketing Manager in a few different national multi-site businesses, which I think gives me a unique perspective when communicating with clients. I’ve sat on their side of the table and understand the objectives and barriers they’re often dealing with.

You’ve certainly got plenty of experience across the board, so what areas of Digital Marketing have you covered?

Well, I started with content copywriting for a graphic design and website development agency, which naturally led to me developing a solid understanding of search engine optimisation. Since then I’ve created a plethora of digital strategies from scratch, so you’d be hard pushed to find an area of digital marketing I haven’t got quite a bit of experience in.

If I had a specialism today, it would probably be PPC, but my brain works best when developing strategies, creating campaigns and solving challenges across the whole marketing mix.

So, what would you say was the most exciting campaign you’ve worked on so far?

I’ve worked in lots of different sectors over the years – from pharmaceuticals and healthcare to retail and property, and each industry has its own unique challenges and rewards. I’m also lucky enough to have been involved in some very exciting projects with the likes of Samsung and Mercure, so choosing one campaign is difficult…

The one I have the fondest memory of was developing the UK affiliate retail campaign for season one of Stranger Things. At that point in time no-one had any idea how popular the series was going to be and to have worked with some incredibly talented designers, developers and marketers on that campaign was a very formative part of my early career.

stranger_thing_retail_old

Speaking of your early career, what led you to working in marketing?

Funnily enough I had no plans at 18 to go into marketing; instead I was pursuing my dream of being a music producer. However, halfway through my degree I started to realise I had a flair for business and turned my ability to write lyrics into writing advertising copy. After eventually doing my dissertation on “The economic viability and sustainability of record labels in current markets”, I realised I really enjoyed analysing sales patterns, reviewing marketing campaigns and applying my creativity to the business world.

Following that lightbulb moment, I started looking for a junior role in marketing and thankfully found one within a small but innovative creative agency.

What developments in digital marketing do you think will change the most over the next few years?

I’m really excited to see where augmented reality takes us. I think a lot of marketers tend to see a lot of things as too “sci-fi”, but when we do that, we also make those things feel unobtainable.
Augmented reality is one of those topics that seems unlikely now, but Google, Microsoft and Apple are all currently working on some form of augmented reality product, so I think it’s only a matter of time before I’ll be creating interactive posters, which will be tailored to a person’s recent shopping habits and can only be seen by that person when wearing their AR glasses.

 

Digital Marketing certainly is fast-moving – How do you stay up to date, have you got any blogs or podcasts you’d recommend?

Not to be too on-the-nose, but there is a fantastic podcast I listen to called “The Digital Marketing Podcast”. It’s a great overview of the industry released every few weeks that manages to cover the entire scope of digital marketing, from Influencers to artificial intelligence. I’d highly recommend giving it a listen.

My favourite work-related blog is called “Digital Synopsis” which looks at the creative side of design and marketing. They publish lots of humorous content which is well worth taking the time to look through. It can be refreshing to remember there’s a lighter side to what we do.

So, assuming you don’t think about SEO 24/7, what do you like to do outside of work?

I like to keep busy so have quite a few hobbies. I play guitar and sing in a pop-punk band called Penelope Tree, play 7-a-side football every week and in the pandemic, I started a small side business selling men’s bath products. I also try to do one charity fundraiser each year; this February I raised money for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital by “Gaming for GOSH”.

When I’m not doing all of that I’m currently planning my September wedding to my lovely fiancé Sarah, or being pestered for treats and walks by my dog.

Ah, yes – now we’re getting to the important stuff, tell us about your dog?

She’s a 2-year-old Sprollie (Border Collie and English Springer Spaniel mix) called Nala. We rescued her on the Queen’s platinum jubilee so the name comes from the Swahili word for Queen, as well as being a character from Sarah’s favourite film, The Lion King.

She’s a bit bonkers and an absolute people-pleaser. She completely ignores other dogs if there’s a person around to play with, but loves nothing more than a long walk, especially if there are plenty of chances to swim.

Finally, if your house was on fire and you could only save one possession, what would you save?

It would have to be one of my eight guitars. Choosing a specific one is a bit like choosing which one of your children to save, but it would either be my Fender Jaguar or my Epiphone ES 333 Tom DeLonge signature, which I worked very hard as a 16-year-old bartender to save up for, and these days it’s quite rare to find one.”

So there you go.

If you want to know more about the future of digital marketing, or even just want a guitar recommendation, Glenn’s your guy.

Catch him touring in a venue near you or contact us to find out how he can assist with your marketing strategy.

Google Shopping Ads – an opportunity for your business?

We manage a range of online advertising strategies for our clients and have learnt a lot along the way.

In this article we dive into the retail world of Google Shopping Ads, to explore how these highly visual adverts work and whether they could add value to your business.

And we include real life Google Shopping Ad examples so you can see how other businesses use this valuable marketing platform.

What are Google Shopping Ads?

Google Shopping Ads are aimed at retailers who want an opportunity to promote their products in a more visual format than standard Google Search Ads.

Each Google Shopping Ad will display:

  • Product image
  • Product name (150 character limit)
  • Descriptive text (5,000 character limit) – the descriptive text is not seen by most users (unless they do a “deep dive” into Google Shopping) but it’s very important to help Google understand the product and match it to the right search queries.
  • Price
  • Retailer name
  • Returns policy (if included)
  • Which service is running the advert (eg Google, Kelkoo, Productcaster)

You have the option to include:

  • Special offers/discounts
  • Product star ratings (from a supported review aggregator, you need to have at least 3 reviews for the product itself and at least 50 reviews across all your products)
  • Customer review capture (an option to capture customer feedback using the Google Customer Reviews service)

Most businesses will run standard Product Shopping Ads. However, you also have the option to run Local Inventory Ads which allows you to promote your products to local shoppers so that, for example, they can order online to collect in store.

Disney ring Shopping Ads
Pandora have used Local Inventory Ads to indicate products which can be purchased for in store collection as well as for delivery.

When a user clicks on your advert they’ll be directed to the page on your website where they can purchase that product. (Note that for businesses that sell through apps, a process called “deep linking” can be used to take the user to your app rather than your website).

Where do Google Shopping Ads appear?

There are three places your adverts can appear:

Google search

This is probably where you’re most familiar with seeing the adverts, at the top (or sometimes down the right hand side) of Google’s search results.

Earbuds Shopping Ads

Note that the Shopping Ads appear above the standard Google Search Ads.

Google Shopping tab

By clicking on the Shopping tab in the Google search results you can see a fuller range of adverts.

Earbud Shopping tab ads

On other websites

If you include it within your campaign, Google Shopping Ads will also be displayed on other Google platforms (eg YouTube, Gmail) and other websites which are part of Google’s Display Network. This is called Performance Max.

Performance Max automatically creates a display ad for you, based on the product information in your Merchant Centre and Google Ads accounts. Rather than being displayed alongside competitors’ products, the advert is purely for your product (or a range of them).

Etsy ad
This Google Shopping Ad for Etsy products was displayed on the Sussex Live website.

These Shopping Ads also work well as remarketing adverts. For example, we’d been looking at thse specific records on juno.co.uk and then this Shopping Ad popped up on another website:

Juno Records Shopping Ad.

We also looked at music on the Oxfam website, however their Shopping Ads weren’t set up quite so well as Juno’s. We did see an Oxfam advert on another website, but it was for dresses not records🤦‍♂️. So they’ve missed an opportunity by not optimising their ads.

Oxfam Shopping Ads

How much do Google Shopping Ads cost?

With Shopping Ads you are charged each time someone clicks on your advert, taking them to your website. How much you pay is calculated through a bidding process.

When you set up the campaign you specify how much you’re willing to pay for each click, ie your maximum bid.

Google then looks at who is willing to pay the most to have their advert displayed. However, this isn’t the only factor they take into account, otherwise the quality and relevance of the adverts would suffer. They also consider criteria such as how relevant your product is to the search term, previous click through rate and overall daily budget. So it’s important to get everything right if you want your adverts to appear and at a reasonable cost.

If very few people are bidding then the clicks could be quite cheap. If it’s highly competitive then you’ll pay closer to your maximum, or potentially be outbid so your adverts won’t appear.

As with all online advertising, there is a certain amount of experimentation needed when establishing the campaign to ensure that the cost per click is optimised.

Shopping Ads have a lower CPC than standard Search Ads

On the whole you’ll find that your cost per click (CPC) is less for Shopping Ads than standard Search Ads. However, the conversion rate also tends to be lower, so it isn’t necessarily the more profitable option.

Average CPC Average conversion rate
Google Shopping Ads $0.66 1.91%
Google Search Ads $2.69 3.78%

Source: Grow My Ads 2023 Google Ads benchmarks

The best way to find out which gives you the best ROI is to trial both and carefully monitor the results.

Benefits of Google Shopping Ads

Widen your audience

The mechanism by which Google decides whether to show your Shopping Ads differs from their standard Search Ads. When you set up the adverts you define your product attributes, Google then uses these to show your adverts for relevant searches.

With standard Search Ads you can define the exact search terms you want your adverts to be shown for. With Shopping Ads you can’t, Google makes the decision based on your product attributes instead.

A note of caution here – you need to manage the adverts carefully otherwise you’ll find that they’re being displayed for searches which are less relevant than you’d like. We’ll discuss creating a negative keyword list to manage this later when we look at Shopping Ads keywords.

Competitive advantage

Running Shopping Ads will immediately put you higher up in Google’s search results than competitors who are not running Shopping Ads. This means the user will see your advert first and, hopefully, not bother scrolling any further down the page.

And, if your competitors are already running Shopping Ads, then you may need to get ‘in the game’ so you’re not left behind.

How to set up Google Shopping Ads

Setting up Google Merchant Centre

Most Google Shopping Ads are run by retailers with an ecommerce website. If this is your situation, you simply need to connect your ecommerce platform (eg Shopify or WooCommerce) to the Google Merchant Centre. This automatically creates a compatible product feed, synchronises your products and makes them available for display in Google Shopping Ads.

If your ecommerce platform does not generate a product feed, or you don’t sell your products online already, you will need to manually upload your products into the Google Merchant Centre. (Or you could contact us about setting up your ecommerce shop 😉.)

Adding products to the Merchant Centre is step one, next they need connecting to your Goole Ads account.

Sign up for Google Merchant Centre.

Setting up the adverts

Once you have your Google Merchant Centre account set up, the Shopping Ad campaigns can be set up directly through your Google Ads account (Google help file) or via Comparison Shopping Services (CSS) such as Klarna, Kelkoo or Genie.

Using a CSS can often be advantageous in terms of reducing the cost per click because Google charges CSS’s around 20% less for the clicks, and they pass some of that reduction onto the retailer. Plus, if you use more than one CSS, giving Google more choice in which advert it displays (each CSS will present a slightly different slant on your product), so it can better match the search term entered.

Boots pushchair Shopping Ads
Boots adverts are appearing directly from Google and via the CSS HeroCompare giving them a double presence in the adverts.

Google Shopping Ads keywords

An important difference between Google Shopping Ads and standard Google Search Ads is that the Shopping Ads use your product information to decide when to display your advert, whereas the Search Ads use a set of keywords which you specify.

When managing your Google Shopping Ads, you will be able to see a list of all the searches which triggered each advert to appear. If there are searches appearing which you feel are unlikely to convert, then you can tell Google to stop displaying your advert for those searches.

We talk more about removing detrimental keywords later in this article.

Conversion tracking

As with any marketing expense, it’s essential that you do everything you can to track the return on investment.

In the world of online advertising this means tracking conversions.

Before any adverts go live you need to ensure that conversion tracking is set up so that each sale you receive can be tracked back to its source, be that your Shopping Ads, organic search, email campaigns, Facebook Ads, etc.

Otherwise you’ll have no idea what is or isn’t working and be unable to effectively optimise your campaigns.

How to optimise Google Shopping Ads

Once it’s up and running, the trick to getting the best ROI from any online advertising campaign is to monitor it closely and continually adjust it to optimise the performance.

When we run a new campaign we check the campaign activity and performance daily, making adjustments to ensure we’re getting the most from it. Even our established campaigns are monitored a few times a week to look for new opportunities and make sure they’re not receiving too many clicks which are unlikely to convert.

These are some of the most common adjustments you’ll need to make to optimise your campaign.

Remove detrimental keywords

Weed out any search terms which are unlikely to convert and tell Google to stop displaying your advert for them.

For example, if a customer is looking for “Little Mermaid toys” they almost certainly want something from the Disney film. However, this nuance is beyond Google’s understanding and therefore it shows other mermaid toys.

Little Mermaid toys Shopping Ads

The risk is that the user could click on the advert, not realising until they go to the website that it isn’t a Disney toy – and therefore have a very low chance of converting.

Note that if you repeat the same search for “Disney Little Mermaid toys” then Google only shows Disney items. This is a good example of where human management of online advertising remains essential, however smart Google’s algorithms are.

Adjust your maximum bid

There are many reasons you might want to alter your spend over the course of your campaign. Perhaps to increase it if you’re not getting enough exposure. Or, if you have budget left over at the end of the month you might want to use it to get more clicks.

Conversely, you might reduce it if you’re low in stock or have a backlog of orders.

Images are key

Experiment with different images to see which attract the most clicks and conversions.

Red leather jacket Shopping Ads
Do your red leather jackets convert better if they’re photographed with or without someone wearing them? Test the click though rate for each style of image to find out.

But don’t forget the text

Tinker with the text that’s being displayed, remembering that those first few words need to convey the most important incentive to make the user click on your advert, not your competitor’s.

Studying the keywords in the Google Ads system to see what previous users have searched for can also give you some good ideas.

Fern houseplant Shopping Ads
Judging by these adverts, it’s essential to have the common name, botanical name and size of the plant included in the visible text. But what order should they be in? Experiment to find out whether the order makes a difference.

Take a look at your competitors

Regularly review competitor activity to make sure you’re “keeping up with the Joneses”.

Paperclip Shopping Ads
Even paperclips get reviewed! And if your competitor is showing a 5 star rating on all their products, while you have nothing, they could be eclipsing your click through rate.

Are Google Shopping Ads right for my business?

Generally speaking, if you’re a retailer, then they are worth trying.

We always recommend an initial trial period of three months – this gives us enough time to optimise the adverts and get a good feel for whether they are going to give our client a good ROI.

Even if the results of the advertising are disappointing, we always find that the insights you gain into your customers’ purchasing behaviour provide valuable information to refine your marketing moving forwards.

Define your objectives

Importantly, you should establish your objectives clearly at the start of the campaign.

In our experience, if you are running the adverts purely for the direct income from the sales they generate, then a carefully managed campaign can bring you that result. However, we’d advise focusing on your higher value products, otherwise you risk ending up with a relatively low ROI.

However, we recommend you look beyond the direct benefits of these adverts…

Google Shopping Ads give you a very high-profile position in Google’s search results. This can be particularly beneficial to raise awareness if you have a new or unique product. Basically you’re more likely to get noticed, even if it doesn’t lead to an immediate sale.

With high value purchases, in particular, customers can take weeks or months to make the purchase decision. So don’t assume your Google Shopping Ads aren’t working just because you get low, or no, sales in the first fortnight.

We also encourage our clients to consider the lifetime value of each customer. They may only purchase one item through your Google Shopping Ads, but if they are delighted by your offering, they will come back to you and buy over and over again. Therefore you might not mind if you don’t get an immediate ROI, because you know that the advertising will pay for itself in spades over the coming years.

Ensure your website lives up to your advert

Whether you are running standard Search Ads or Shopping Ads, it’s imperative that your website lives up to the expectations set by that advert.

This is particularly true if you’re promoting high-end products. An advert that screams luxury, but then takes you through to a poorly designed website, is unlikely to convert. And all you’ll do is throw your money away on opportunities your website is incapable of converting.

Alternative advertising strategies

When defining your online advertising strategy you should consider all the options available to you. Google Shopping Ads are just one of them, others include:

  • Standard Google Search Ads
  • Remarketing advertising
  • Social media adverts
  • Video ads (eg YouTube)
  • Sector-specific adverts (such as Google travel ads)
  • Email marketing adverts

The trick is to find the right blend for your business.

Find the right online advertising mix

Get in touch to explore how online advertising can help you to sell more online.

Call us on 01273 814 019 or email hello@tomango.co.uk.

What are customer personas?

Our mission is to help businesses grow by getting more of the customers they want.

But we can’t do this unless we understand exactly who those ideal customers are, which is where customer personas come in.

What are customer personas?

Also known as customer avatars, a customer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer.

But unlike vague descriptions that are easy to forget, personas are very specific. Each has their own personality, background, interests, motivations and reasons for buying from you.

Personas make your customers come to life.

Why do I need to create personas?

A persona helps everyone understand exactly who your ideal customer is and feel like they know them.

For example:

  • It can help your salespeople spot the perfect opportunity;
  • your customer services team to be more empathetic;
  • your technical team develop products which better suit your market; and
  • for marketing people like us, it’s an invaluable way to ensure that our work is always attuned to its audience.

When you understand what motivates your customer to buy from you, what they worry about and what makes them tick, you’ll be much better at knowing where they hang out and what to say to resonate with them; making all of your marketing much more effective.

Because personas are based on real people, they’re easier to relate to (and remember) than just a description of a customer type.

How to create a persona

There are different ways you can go about creating personas.

You could set up interviews with a sample of each of your customer types, be they your existing customers, prospects, referred contacts or via a third-party service. This is a fantastic way of getting real insights into each persona type, but will be prohibitively expensive for most businesses.

Where this sort of budget isn’t available, the best way to start is by putting them together from what you already know about your customers. You and your team have a wealth of knowledge, so now’s the time to use it.

Are personas just for customers?

Creating personas doesn’t have to always be about customers.

In some businesses it might be just as important to attract new employees, or perhaps suppliers. If this is the case, then the same principles of the customer persona should be applied to them too.

You can also create ‘negative personas’, describing the type of customers you don’t want. For example, you might get a lot of people joining your email list to receive your latest insights. But you don’t want to spend time or money marketing to students who only use it for research, because they’ll never buy from you. This would be a negative persona.

How many customer personas do I need?

I suggest having no more than four or five different personas, but in a way it’s not so much the number that matters, but that you’ve covered all your main customer types. If you’ve only got two or three main customer types, don’t pad it out for the sake of it.

Start by listing out the types of customers you want to attract. You might consider this in terms of your most profitable customers, new markets you want to enter or simply those customers who are great to deal with. Or perhaps a bit of each? Going through your CRM system/contacts database and chatting to your team can be a helpful way to get started.

Example customer personas for architects aiming to develop more business in the housing and education sectors:

  1. Housing Developer
  2. Education Sector Contractor
  3. Independent School Bursar

If you’re struggling to work out who your best customers are, you might benefit from one of our Brand Strategy workshops. Working with one of our experts, we explore how you can uncover the hidden profitability within your business.

What information should each persona contain?

These are the most important questions we suggest you start with. It isn’t a definitive list – have fun creating your personas! You could also include their favourite food, the car they drive, what they drink, which political party they support, how they do their supermarket shopping, etc.

Don’t go crazy (or it’ll take you forever) but do make sure you use this opportunity to home in on any aspects of their lives that are particularly relevant to your product or service. So, if you’re a hairdresser, do include what their hairstyle is and who cuts it currently. This is probably less important if you’re a DIY retailer!

Customer type

In a b2b scenario this will often be related to the business they work for, so in our architect example above, one type of persona will be ‘housing developers’, another type would be ‘education sector contractors’.

When selling to consumers you will also have different types. For example, a coffee shop might have ‘busy commuter’, ‘chatting with friends’ and ‘reading the paper’ personas.

Demographics

This is where, instead of thinking of them as a type, you start to think of them as a real person.

There are quite a few things you can consider:

  • How old are they?
  • What gender are they, or do they identify as?
  • Where do they live?
  • How well educated are they?
  • What is their native language?
  • What is their job? How senior are they?
  • How affluent are they?
  • Are they married?
  • Do they have children? Grandchildren?
  • Do they have pets?

Name

Next, give them a name. The first name only is fine, though you might want to use alliteration to help you remember who they are, such as “Accountant Andy”, “Single Mum Suzie” or “Green-fingered Gregory”.

Giving them a name really helps you visualise the person and makes them come to life. It also helps as an identifier when talking about the different personas.

Photo

As long as these are internal documents, you don’t need to worry too much about where your persona’s photo comes from, but try and make them realistic. We suggest going to LinkedIn and searching for someone with a similar job title to your persona, or do a Google image search for your customer type.

Situation

A short biography that sums up what life stage they’re at, what’s currently going on in their work and personal life and how they feel about it.

If you find this difficult, start off by writing a few notes about your own situation to get you into the right mindset.

Interests and lifestyle

Identifying the person’s interests doesn’t just give you a more rounded picture of them, it can provide very helpful hints about how your marketing activity can reach them.

For example this could include:

  • Where do they go for news updates?
  • What social media platforms do they use, if any?
  • What do they like to do of an evening?
  • What trade shows do they attend?
  • Do they go for long dog walks?
  • Are they happiest when down the pub?
  • What magazines do they read?
  • What football team do they support?
  • What websites do they look at frequently?
  • Where do they go on holiday?
  • What type of networking do they do?
  • Are they into technology?
  • What TV programmes do they enjoy?
  • Which brands do they love?

It’s helpful to focus on interests which are relevant to your products or services – but don’t become too focused otherwise you won’t create a well-rounded, realistic persona.

Motivations and fears

What gets this person up in the mornings? What are they worried about? Don’t limit yourself to considering these questions purely from the point of view of the product/service you’re selling them. Consider their motivations and fears more generally, for example are they:

  • Ambitious and career focused
  • Stressed about the rising cost of living
  • Health conscious
  • Juggling multiple jobs
  • Worried about hitting their targets
  • Always wanting to feel like they’ve got a bargain
  • Aiming to be environmentally friendly in all they do

This part is particularly important because those motivations and fears will be influencing their decision-making process. The better you understand your persona’s motivations, the better you can relate your marketing activity to them.

Goal

This is where we start to focus on how your business relates to the persona and ask:

  • Why would they purchase from you?
  • What are they trying to achieve?

Back to our architect example: Their ideal Housing Developer might be one who wants to deliver affordable housing that’s practical and comfortable for the homeowner. Or perhaps it’s a developer who wants to create something dramatically cutting-edge for the high-end market.

For consumers their goal might be to buy a meal that even the pickiest of eaters will enjoy, reduce their weekly expenditure or find a dress that will make everyone comment on how good they look.

Challenges

What challenges are stopping them from achieving their goals? Are these external or internal issues?

Let’s consider our architect and their customer persona of a housing developer who wants to deliver quality affordable housing. What’s stopping them doing this? Perhaps they can’t see how to reduce their material costs to the necessary level. Maybe they can’t get planning permission for their preferred designs. Or perhaps their contacts are all in high-end architectural firms that they can’t afford to use?

By understanding these challenges, we can create messaging about our products or services that will appeal to them.

Knowledge and skills

Understanding how much knowledge your customer persona has about your products or services is incredibly helpful in ensuring that you never condescend or intimidate them.

If you sell cosmetics, for example, a professional buyer from a department store is likely to be highly knowledgeable. Whereas an end consumer might need more guidance in making the right purchase.

If you’re selling software, it’s useful to know to what extent the decision maker understands the capability and underlying coding of the system.

What should customer personas look like?

There are no hard-and-fast rules, but it’s best if you have a format that can be printed off onto an A4 sheet, so you can stick them up on a wall if you need to.

It’s also a good idea to keep the layout consistent so you can find specific information easily.

Download your free customer personas template.

Download

Three ways we’ve used customer personas

As I mentioned before, we use customer personas a lot. Here are just three examples of how we use them.

1. Planning the content and structure for a website

When it came to planning their new website, BioMedical needed to understand what content would resonate with their ideal clients. Through one of our brand strategy workshops, we defined three personas of their sweet-spot customers, taking the time to understand their motivations and fears and the key things they were looking for in a software developer.

Armed with this information, we were then able to plan what content needed to be included on the site and how the user might move through the site from one page to another

2. Planning a digital marketing campaign

When we worked on Change Formation’s personas, we uncovered a common goal that sparked an ingenious idea for a digital marketing campaign.

We realised that what most of Change Formation’s sweet-spot clients wanted first was a smaller, diagnostic piece of work called Insights Discovery, that then typically led on to a larger more involved project.

This meant we could create an SEO campaign around very specific search terms, which has generated lots of good-fit enquiries and helped achieve a 300% return on investment.

3. Creating a new brand identity

When Stuart & Partners wanted to rebrand, it was the first time they’d changed their brand image in 30 years. They’d not given much thought to who their ideal clients were for quite some time.

Through a series of workshops, we worked with them to develop their brand strategy. This included defining their positioning and value proposition and also, importantly, defining their Personas.

The information we found out played a crucial role in defining the design brief for their new confident brand identity to make sure it presented them properly to their target market.

Plus our own networking activity

Of course, we have our own Tomango customer personas, which we rely on heavily.

I find them particularly useful when out networking, to allow me to quickly identify new contacts who might be our ‘sweet spot’ type of client.

So yes, personas are important

Whilst it might sound like an unnecessary faff, creating personas is incredibly useful and can actually be quite good fun.

Go on, give it a try…

Next steps

As a thriving brand agency in Sussex, creating customer personas is a core part of our work. But it doesn’t stop there. Once we know who you are targeting we can implement a range of brand and marketing tactics to help you reach them. To find out more, speak to our team.

Sussex Christmas traditions

We’re proud to be based in Sussex – it’s beautiful, historic and sometimes downright strange.

And this quirky outlook on rural life is never exemplified better than at Christmas.

Here are some of our favourite Sussex Christmas traditions; some dating back to ancient times and others which are more recent inventions.

Mummers or Tipteerers

Perhaps the most famous of Sussex Christmas traditions, Mummers (or Tiptreers as they’re known locally) are small bands of folk players who travel from pub to pub putting on a traditional Christmas play. Often these are groups of Morris dancers who turn their hand to Mumming and wassailing (see below) over the winter.

The cast turn up at a pub and, if allowed in, clear a space to put on a short play introduced by none other than Father Christmas. He’s accompanied by characters including St George, the Turkish Knight, and a doctor. Much banter, fighting and magical cures ensue, finishing with a song and dance. Each play follows broadly the same traditional storyline, but there are lots of variations.

Here’s an example from the Ashdown Mummers:

The origins of Mummers are not clear, but they seem to have started as plays performed to wealthy locals in their homes, in return for money or food. This often culminated in a Christmas Eve performance for their village.

Some believe that Mummers have their roots in pagan times, with the plays reflecting the dying back of the land in the winter, followed by the magical cure of spring. However, the current form of Mummers plays seems to date to the late 17th century at the earliest.

If you fancy seeing the Mummers this Christmas, here are a few of our Sussex groups:

Brighton Christmas Day Dip

Despite the discomfort, potential dangers of cold water sea swimming, and discouragement from the local council, the Brighton Christmas Day Dip is still going strong after over 100 years.

At 11am on Christmas Day brave (foolhardy?) swimmers flock to Brighton’s beaches for a dip in the ocean, while spectators get ready with warm towels and glasses of fizz.

People wearing Santa hats in the sea
The 2021 Christmas Day Dip, image courtesy of The Argus.

Dating back to 1860, the Christmas Day Dip was established by Brighton Swimming Club. It’s thought to be the longest established Christmas swim in England.

1929 Brighton Christmas Dip
Courtesy of Brighton Swimming Club.

Please note that Brighton & Hove City Council discourage the Christmas Day swim. It’s important to understand the potential dangers of cold water sea swimming and hidden dangers such as the steep shingle slope on Brighton beach. Stay safe everyone!

Singing bees

According to Bodleian Law Library there used to be a Sussex tradition of bees singing at Christmas.

It was said that, on Christmas Eve, the bees would start singing in their hives at midnight, to mark the birth of Jesus.

We can’t find any modern day references to this, but love the idea of carolling bees!

Wassailing (or apple howling)

The custom of wassailing dates back to Saxon times. It’s common in apple growing areas, such as Sussex and Kent, and is intended to ward off evil winter spirits to ensure a good crop the following autumn.

The tradition includes tying red ribbons to an apple tree and placing cider-soaked bread on the branches as an offering to the good spirits of the orchard. The wassailers, by torchlight, then sing, bang sticks, hit saucepan lids together and generally make a huge racket in order to scare away the bad spirits.

The ceremony cumulates in a bowl of wassail (warm, spiced cider) being passed around, each drinker shouting “Wassail” before taking a draught. The word “wassail” derives from the Anglo Saxon “Waes Hael” meaning “to be in good health”.

Wassailing at Maplehurst
Image courtesy of Glyn Baker/Wassail.

In Sussex this is also known as “Howling”. While previously reserved for rural communities, in recent years a wassailing custom has grown in Hastings where groups go from house to house wassailing any apple trees in their back gardens.

Traditionally it was held on the 17th January, which was the “Old Twelvy Night”, before the introduction of the Gregorian Calendar shifted Twelfth Night to the 5th January.

Many of the local Morris groups wassail in the winter months. You can also visit the Wassailing Day at the Weald and Downland museum.

Orange throwing

A Christmas tradition which is sadly (or perhaps happily?) no longer with us is orange throwing. According to Sussex Live, on Boxing Day people would gather with bowls of oranges to throw. The object was to collide with someone else’s orange, if you did then you got to keep both oranges.

Santa Dashes

Santa Dashes are an increasingly popular way of celebrating Christmas in Sussex – and a great way to burn off a few calories before indulging over the festive season.

There are plenty of runs to choose from, for example the Bexhill Santa Dash in 2022 also invites you to bring your dog, or “Santa Paws”, along for the run!

The Bexhill Santa Dash
the Bexhill Santa Dash, image courtesy of Bexhill Lions Club.

Sussex Carol

Finally, it would be remiss of us not to mention that Sussex has its very own carol. It’s based on a popular folk song which was sung throughout the country, dating back to at least 1684, if not earlier.

In 1919 Ralph Vaughan Williams arranged a version of it. This became known as the Sussex Carol because it was based on a tune he heard Sussex, from a Mrs Harriet Verrall of Monk’s Gate near Horsham.

So, while not technically about Sussex at all, we’re going to claim it as our own!

About us

We’re a Sussex brand agency based close to Lewes in East Sussex. If you’d like to find out more about what we do, please get in touch.

 

 

Sussex brands we love – The Sussex Crisp Company

Great branding deserves to be celebrated – whether it’s our own work or the branding of local businesses we buy from. As a branding agency in Sussex we’re surrounded by great brands so we are creating a series of articles featuring “Sussex brands we love” in homage to some of the great (non-Tomango) branding work out there.

In the first of our series about Sussex brands we love, we took a look at The Brewhouse Project in Arundel.

Of course, when you have a pint in one hand it’s quite natural to have a bag of crisps in the other, which brings us neatly on to the Sussex Crisp Company.

A pint of beer and a packet of The Sussex Crisp Company crisps

Note that the Sussex Crisp Company isn’t a client of ours, so we’re assessing them from the outside (quite literally as we were in a beer garden).

This means we don’t really know whether they’re a success or not – because we don’t know what market they intended to target or how many of those customers they’re actually attracting.

But what we can tell you for a fact is that the crisps are delicious.

About the Sussex Crisp Company

A relative newcomer to the crisp market, the Sussex Crisp company was founded by Andy Hearnshaw and Mark Farris in early 2020, though they started developing their local flavours some years beforehand.

They supply crisps wholesale and direct to customers through their online shop (with a minimum order of 24 packs).

Their speciality is sourcing flavours from Sussex suppliers, such as Yellowcoate cider vinegar and Sussex Charmer cheese.

And, by the sounds of some of their Google reviews, they’ve worked hard to develop a range of flavours which are really delighting their customers:

The Sussex Crisp Company's Google reviews

The Sussex Crisp Company’s brand positioning

This brand is all about taking the sumptuous flavours of Sussex and scattering them over potatoes to create crisps with a greater depth of flavour than your average brands.

They not only use local ingredients, but explain exactly which suppliers they come from, giving a real feel of the story behind each flavour: https://www.sussexcrisps.com/flavours/. This works particularly well to set them apart from competition from national brands.

By weight, they retail at more than double the cost of Walkers multipack crisps. And they are still significantly more expensive than the higher end supermarket crisps, such as Tyrrells. Clearly they are positioning themselves as a premium brand and, on the whole, their marketing aligns to this.

Brand identity

We’ve picked out a few elements of their brand identity to take a closer look at.

Company name

It’s a great name. It does exactly what it says on the tin (or in this case, the packet).

Incorporating the word ‘Sussex’ gives their Sussex customers a sense of ownership and buying from a local supplier. Further afield, the idea of Sussex brings to mind picturesque villages, historic castles and famous seaside resorts. Customers like brands who reflect who they are (or would like to be), therefore giving them the feel of being part of Sussex life, wherever they actually are, will appeal to many people.

And becoming a Dukedom again in 2018 has only added a further gloss to the county’s reputation.

Logo

The Sussex Crisp Company logo

It’s also a great logo. It’s shaped like a crisp, though this isn’t immediately obvious. Then there’s another mini-crisp inside it behind the “The”. The crisp shape is also used for other purposes, for example to form buttons on the homepage of their website:

The Sussex Crisp Company website homepage buttons

There are clear references to the sea: the deep blue background, fluid font choice and the ‘wave’ underlining the final word. This wave design device is also used in their strapline to emphasise the word “Sussex”.

Packed full of Sussex flavours

The sea also features in many of the Sussex images on the packaging.

The logo’s text is in gold, a colour associated with luxury as well as the golden colour of well-cooked crisps – reflecting the depth of flavour and quality of the product.

Tone of voice

There is something slightly formal about the tone of the website’s text content, for example they avoid using contractions (“it is” instead of “it’s”).

This gives the impression that this company is serious about the crisps they produce; they aren’t a brand who uses highly exuberant or overly-familiar language to describe their wares. The Sussex Crisp Company lets their flavours do the talking.

On their social media accounts the language is, appropriately, less formal.

Marketing channels

Website

The website’s design is elegantly simple in appearance and structure, using lots of Sussex imagery to reinforce the local feel of the brand.

The Sussex Crisp Company website

The simple structure and easy navigation make this a pleasurable website to use. They haven’t given in to the temptation to become a ‘quirky’ brand – for example the cookie notice doesn’t extol the virtues of crisps over cookies and the 404 page doesn’t display a gif of someone stamping on a pack of crisps.

Having positioned this as a positive, we do wonder though whether the website could get across a bit more personality. Perhaps there could be more original photography (including of the two founders) and storytelling on the website, maybe even a blog where they could post updates. This would increase engagement, particularly for consumers, and deepen their connection with the brand.

Generally speaking, their website has a good balance between appealing to trade and consumer purchasers. While we suspect that most of their sales are to trade, they are clearly recognising the importance of building brand awareness and loyalty among consumers too.

One omission from the website we spotted is a list of stockists. As a consumer, this means it will be difficult to know where to go to purchase the crisps (unless you want to buy a case of 24 online). Including a stockists list, while adding a bit of an admin overhead, would also give the brand an opportunity to encourage consumers to become brand advocates and ask their local shops to become stockists.

We also noted that the website is using the domain sussexcrisps.com. It appears that the business also owns sussexcrisps.co.uk but have chosen not to redirect that domain to their website. While not the end of the world, it does mean that if someone has a guess and types in the .co.uk version of the website address, they won’t find it.

Product packaging

Product packaging isn’t just about telling the customer what flavour the crisps are, it has other roles to play:

  • Catching the customer’s eye on a shelf full of packets of other well-known crisp brands.
  • Giving a clear, simple and honest message about what’s inside.
  • Being authentic about the brand and what it stands for.
  • Being a practical container for the crisps – from both the retailer’s and consumer’s point of view.
  • Meeting regulatory requirements (the boring bits).

Like the website, the packaging is richly illustrated with eye-catching pictures of famous Sussex scenes.

A packet of The Sussex Crisp Company's crisps - front

They use conventional crisp-flavour colours to surround their featured Sussex image (in the above example, red for ready salted). This makes it easy for the purchaser (and server) to grab the right flavour.

The front of the pack has minimal text, focusing on the key messages about its Sussex heritage and hand cooked quality.

A packet of The Sussex Crisp Company's crisps - reverse

As well as the required ingredient information, the back of the pack is used as another opportunity to emphasise the brand’s Sussex roots. There’s also a clever cross-selling panel suggesting another flavour to try.

Social media

The Sussex Crisp company focus on two social media channels; Facebook and Instagram. While they do update these at least once a month, it feels a little haphazard.

The Sussex Crisp Company's Instagram page

They have some great posts about where you can purchase the crisps (local stockists and further afield such as the Glastonbury festival), but (in our humble opinion) could do with more variety. We’d love to see some images that show the ‘face’ of Sussex crisps (videos of the latest batch being baked, visits to their flavour suppliers, that sort of thing). Also, on a more technical point, some of the posts feel a little rushed, such as @ tags not being set up properly.

If we were advising Sussex Crisps, we would also encourage more interaction with other Sussex-related accounts and posts, to help reinforce their messaging of being a brand very much rooted in their local area.

And if we’re being hyper-critical, the account bios could be better optimised, and it isn’t best practice to have your logo as both your Facebook profile and cover image. This is perhaps missing an opportunity to communicate more about the story behind the business.

These are further opportunities to reinforce this brand’s positioning, and as a premium brand, the Sussex Crisp Company will want to focus on consumer loyalty and advocacy – persuading both existing and new customers that their crisps are worth paying extra for.

Their customers need to feel special and part of a community, which will make them far more likely to introduce friends to the brand or ask their local shop to start stocking it.

Social media is an ideal way of achieving these objectives.

Email marketing

The website has an email marketing sign up form (good), however since we signed up to it five months ago, we haven’t received any emails (ah, not so good).

This could be because they’re in the process of building up their email marketing database and will start to use it once it reaches a certain number of subscribers.

Email marketing could be a good opportunity for a brand like Sussex Crisps, perhaps more so on the trade side than direct to consumers *. Even if just used once a quarter, it would be a great way of maintaining connection with the brand, announcing new flavours, sharing special offers and generally reinforcing the brand positioning.

* A side note is that the email marketing sign up form doesn’t ask you to indicate whether you’re trade or a customer. Capturing this information would mean the Sussex Crisp Company could tailor their email marketing for each audience.

Food for thought

As far as we can see, The Sussex Crisp Company doesn’t have a Google Ads strategy, but perhaps they should…

Currently, when you search for “sussex crisp company”, Google Shopping Ads are led by Kent Crisps, followed by various other competitors:

Google Shopping Ads results for "sussex crisp company"

The risk is that the ads stand out much more than the company’s organic website listing and, therefore, steal potential business from them.

This is a perfect example of when it’s a good idea to run Google Ads against searches for your own company name. This would be cheap to do, work well to offset the issue of people clicking on the Shopping Ads and enhance brand awareness.

The ingredients of a great brand

The Sussex Crisp Company have a fantastic product which is brilliantly positioned to appeal to their local, and wider, audience. They have all the essential ingredients of a highly successful brand, and this is why we love it.

Right, we’re off to the pub to buy another pack …

Oh, and if you’d like us to turn our critical (and complementary) eye to your brand, please get in touch.

Introducing Google Analytics 4

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the next evolution of Google Analytics, a system which provides vital management insights for digital marketing agencies and website owners.

It promises great things.

But, if businesses don’t take action now, they won’t just be missing out on the new opportunities – they will actually be worse off.

 

Google Analytics logo

 

The benefits GA4 brings to your business

Google Analytics 4 will enable you to make better informed marketing decisions.

It will do this through:

  • More accurate data, regardless of the user’s cookie settings.
  • Aggregation of data across multiple platforms, giving you the bigger picture.
  • Information which is easier to interpret, thanks to more visual reporting.
  • Better spotting and predicting of trends, enabling you to get ahead of the game in grabbing new opportunities.
  • Quicker identification of irregularities, so you can take action against any emerging threats.

Why you need to take action now

Although the switchover from the current “Universal Analytics” to Google Analytics 4 doesn’t happen until 1st July 2023, you need to take action now to ensure a continuity of your website management information.

When the change happens next year, your current Google Analytics package will stop collecting data and none of its data will transfer into GA4.

Therefore, it’s important to implement GA4 now so you have some historical data built up ready for the switchover.

Note that you will still be able to access your historical data in Universal Analytics (Google haven’t yet given a date for this to be removed).

What you need to do

All website owners should set up their GA4 account now, running in parallel with their existing Universal Analytics account, so it can start to accumulate data.

Then, when the switchover happens on the 1st July 2023, you won’t be starting from scratch with no data.

Early adoption of GA4 also enables its powerful machine-learning capabilities to start modelling your data so you can hit the ground running when you do change over.

Ready to set up GA4? Here’s what to do:

  • If you’re new to Google Analytics then you should dive straight into GA4 – find out how.
  • If you’re already running Universal Analytics, set up GA4 to run in parallel – find out how.
  • If you’re using Universal Analytics with a website builder platform or content management system (such as WordPress, Wix, WooCommerce, etc) there are slightly different instructions for setting up GA4 in parallel – find out more.

If you only launched your website recently, it’s possible you’re already using GA4. In which case, you’re all set.

Let’s look at the detail. What exactly is Google Analytics 4?

First announced last October, Google Analytics 4 is a significant step up from the current analytics tool.

Events take precedence over sessions

The primary change in GA4 is the way it reports data.

The current Universal Analytics organises information about website user activity by “session”. This groups everything a user does on your website within a given time period (usually 30 minutes) into a session. This could include, for example, looking at multiple pages, clicking on social media links and putting an item in their cart.

Google Analytics 4 prefers to organise information by “event”. This means that everything the user does is captured as a separate activity. So, viewing a page is one event, clicking on a link is another, adding an item to their cart is another. Session information is still available if you prefer to view your data in that way.

Forecasting

Google Analytics’ predictive capabilities have been enhanced in GA4, thanks to artificial intelligence and machine-learning.

This means that when you go into GA4, instead of wading through reams of data yourself, the system will automatically highlight any trends it’s spotted.

Image source: Moz

Enhanced data visualisation

From our many years of experience presenting management information to clients we know that a visual representation is far more welcome than a page of numbers. Google Analytics 4 works hard to give you data that’s more digestible by making charts its first and foremost method of data presentation.

The new “Analysis Hub” feature in GA4 has a wealth of visually appealing information to share. For example, the funnel analysis (working out how you get people from being a website visitor to a repeat customer) can give you valuable insights into how to improve conversion rates.

Another helpful tool is path analysis, which enables you visualise the journey a user takes through your website. This helps you to identify how many continue on to the end goal (e.g. your contact page) and why others might be getting lost along the way.

The new “Realtime overview” in GA4 is another highly visual aid to understanding your data, giving you a real-time snapshot of your website’s users. Image source: Search Engine Journal

Cookieless measurements

Google Analytics uses cookies (a small piece of software it implants into the user’s browser) to measure activity.

The Flash Talking Cookie Rejection Report 2020 shows that 32% of devices reject 64% of all cookies. Those cookies send vital information to Google Analytics, without which Universal Analytics risks under- or over-reporting your data.

The machine-learning which sits behind GA4 goes some way to resolve the problems of apps or users refusing cookies.

It does this by anticipating a user’s activity to fill the gaps where data is missing. So the user retains their privacy because you don’t actually know what they’re doing, but GA4 gives you pretty accurate estimation to complete your picture of their journey.

Need help?

Google Analytics 4 will be an incredibly powerful tool to give you the right data to make the right marketing decisions.

Businesses need to get on board now, or risk being left behind.

If you need help setting up GA4, or making the most of the data it can provide, we can help. Email us at hello@tomango.co.uk or call 01273 814 019.

Please note that existing Tomango clients will be contacted directly to make arrangements for their GA4 implementation.

Meet our new web developer – Glen Stanbridge

We’re very pleased to announce we have a new member of the Tomango team helping us deliver outstanding web design in Sussex.

Please meet our new Web Developer, Glen Stanbridge.

Glen joined us at the end of August having previously worked at PMW Communications and before that, at search intelligence software company Pi Datametrics. He brings nearly 20 years’ experience as a web developer, including a stint running his own agency overseas.

We’re extremely pleased to have him joining Tomango.

After Glen’s first couple of weeks, we grabbed some time to chat and I asked him a few questions to get to know him better.

“Hey Glen. It’s really good to have you on board. What have you made of your first two weeks?

It’s gone really quickly – which I think is a good sign! Obviously with a new role I’ve had a lot to learn about how you do things here, and spent time getting to know the guys on the team, but it’s been really enjoyable. I’m glad that we were able to do it in the office instead of remotely; it’s made a big difference.

Yeah, I’m pleased we decided to all be in, all the time, for the first couple of weeks.

It makes a big difference. And it’s a lovely environment to work in, nice and relaxed.

What’s been the biggest challenge so far?

Probably taking on board Tomango’s different procedures and systems and getting up to speed with them. But I feel like I’ve got a good handle on them already. I don’t feel like I’ve had to ask loads of questions, mainly because the rest of the team have put in place a great onboarding programme and taken the time to go through everything in detail.

How are we different to where you were before?

The big difference is that everything’s much more structured than I’ve been used to. It’s really clear who’s responsible for what and I understand where I fit in; I like the way things are so well organised here!

How have you found working with the other guys on the team?

Everyone’s been great; they’re really personable people. We all seem to have a similar sense of humour and can look at life and not take it too seriously. There’s more to life than just work.

Everyone’s been really easy to get on with. I could tell we’d get on from when we went to the pub together for a pint just before I started; that was a great idea.

I think it’s fair to say you’ve been a developer for quite some time haven’t you? How did it all start?

Yes, I’ve been a developer since – what – 2001. Where it all got started was when I was working for a company that tested wet and dry risers, back at that time. That was an interesting job; I used to travel up and down the country for them, going to some weird and amazing places – I walked over the top of the Albert Hall, looking down into the auditorium, wandered around MI5, walked on top of a working nuclear reactor, all sorts.

Wow! So how did you go from that to starting web development?

Well, I developed the database system and stuff for this company and they asked me to design their first company website and that was my first taste of it.

Then after that I decided to go travelling with my partner and instead of trying to keep in touch with everyone by email whilst we were away, I thought “let’s build a website we can update”. And that was the first big website I built – and I’ve had a career in web development ever since.

And you ran your own business for a while, didn’t you? What was that like?

Yes, that’s right. So the story goes that we moved to Spain. We’d sold our houses in the UK, and we rocked up, literally with a big bag of cash, but no idea what we were going to do for a living.

Because we didn’t have jobs, renting a house was a nightmare, so we decided to buy somewhere. We got talking to the estate agent and it turned out they needed a website. So we built a site for them and then within a couple of months we had about five clients! And then it just grew organically from there.

Our company was called Poached Eggs, and we built sites for clients that had come to Spain from all over Europe – Poland, Russia, Scandinavia, and England of course – to run all sorts of businesses.

And you did that for quite a while?

Yep, about seven years. And then we decided it was time to come home and I went to work for Intelligent Positioning, which became Pi Datametrics. When I started there, they were a digital agency with lots of clients, but they’d developed a set of SEO tools that they realised they could sell to other agencies and in time they shifted focus to become a company that sold those products.

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?

I do a lot of dog walking – I love walking anyway, with the dog or without him. One of the things I love about living where I do in Eastbourne is the amazing countryside and stunning scenery all around us. We know a lot of people through dog walking and it’s become quite a big part of our social life.

I love cooking, particularly Asian inspired cuisine; Katsu Chicken Curry, Chicken Udon noodles, that sort of thing.

Chilli Chicken with Udon Noodles

And my other massive passion is music. I started playing a musical instrument from when I was something like 9 years old. My family’s very musical; my brother played tuba and my sister played cello. I started on the trumpet but then moved to a tenor horn and various other brass instruments. I played in orchestras and brass bands in the area I grew up in South Yorkshire.

Then later, when I left school, opportunities to carry on playing became limited without having to do lots of travelling, and I started to follow my real passion for synths, which I’d discovered a few years earlier.

And now I’m at my happiest down in my basement, fiddling with sounds.

Now, like several of the rest of the team, I know you’ve got a dog. Tell us a bit more about him…

He’s called Cyrus – pronounced Sirrus, like the clouds – and he’s a Spanish Canarian Podenco.

Cyrus the Podenco

He’s a hunting dog and he’s nearly four. He’s very cheeky and very, very charming. He’s very placid and a stickler for time – when it gets to his walk time, he’ll let us know, and he won’t let us do anything until we take him out.

He’s very sociable with other dogs and with people too; he’s great with kids and doesn’t mind them even when they’re pulling his tail and hanging off his ears!

If your house was on fire and you could only save one possession, what would you save?

Well – if I’m not allowed to say my PC – in terms of sentimental value, it would probably be a piece we bought when we were travelling in Malawi. It’s a Bao board, which is a game played across eastern Africa and it’s a beautiful, hand-carved wooden board that sits above our fireplace. That means a lot to me and it’s totally irreplaceable.

Carved wooden Bao board - an east central African game
Glen’s Bao board

What was your dream job when you were younger?

I wanted to be a Sound Designer or Studio Engineer. Or a vet – but I was put off by a week’s work experience and quickly decided that wasn’t what I wanted to do. I won’t go into too much detail in case anyone reading this is eating.”

So there you have it.

If you want to know what it’s like to walk on the top of a live nuclear power station, or want to learn how to play Bao, Glen’s your man.

Just don’t ask him about his work experience if you’re about to tuck into your dinner…

How Discovery delivered for Gatwick Diamond Business

Tomango is a branding agency in Sussex. Our Discovery sessions are a popular starting point for new businesses and established organisations who want to refresh and reinvigorate their marketing.

In this article we explore how we took Gatwick Diamond Business on a journey to discover who they really are, what their customers want and how to gain more of them.

Gatwick Diamond Business

Gatwick Diamond Business (gbd) is a Sussex-based business community which aims to connect and support its members for their mutual benefit.

Gatwick Diamond Business

Member organisations range from sole traders to employers of over 20,000 people, from a huge variety of sectors. They’re all located in Sussex, plus parts of Surrey and South London (roughly a diamond shape around Gatwick, hence the name).

This diverse membership gives the gbd community a vibrant dynamic, but it was causing them problems with their marketing: How do you speak with a compelling voice to such a varied group of businesses?

The Discovery process

gbd signed up to one of our Discovery sessions to help them coalesce their thoughts and identify practical ways they could move their marketing forward.

We met with the gbd team over three sessions, each one taking a detailed view of the business, where they are now, where they want to be, and what is needed to get them there.

Our initial focus was on how their brand is positioned, looking at what they do best and who their ideal customer is.

We then took this work and distilled it into key messages, to be reflected across their sales and marketing activities.

Finally, we brought this all together in a marketing plan, highlighting the activities which would deliver the best return on investment.

What gbd discovered

Our Discovery sessions usually give our clients two types of revelation:

1. Clarifying the big picture

Much of this is about bringing together what the business already knows…but doesn’t realise it knows. This big picture information, when properly compiled and assessed, then feeds into all future decision making.

In the case of gbd their big picture revelations included:

  • Who they are and what they do to solve people’s problems.
  • How to position their offering to appeal to their ideal customer.

2. Finding the right tactics

Once the big picture is understood, our Discovery session then helped gbd to work out the best tactics to reach and influence their ideal customers.

For example, this included:

  • How to make people sit up and take notice of gbd’s messages – regardless of business type or size.
  • What communication channels to use for the best return on investment.

The results for gbd

I’ve been on many of these workshops over the years, but what made this one different was the way that Mark made the theory relevant to the everyday; yes, we came away with much more clarity about the gbd brand, but we also had some real, practical ways we could put our new plans into action.

Jeff Alexander, CEO Gatwick Diamond Business

Discover more about your organisation

We’ve helped numerous businesses to bring together their collective expertise to better understand where they are now, where they should be and how to get there.

Read about 6 more clients we’ve helped through Discovery.

To book your Discovery session or find out more, call us on 01273 814 019 or email hello@tomango.co.uk.

 

Google Ads – how to tell if you’re being ripped off

If you’ve ever used Google search, then you’ve almost certainly seen Google Ads. These are the paid-for adverts which appear at the top or bottom of the organic (non-paid-for) search results. They have a subtle “Ad” indicator in the top left to differentiate them from organic results.

Google Ads for Change Formation

Google Ads can be a lucrative way of marketing your business – so long as they’re well managed.

Let me repeat that: so long as they are well managed.

A poorly managed Google Ads campaign can cost you a fortune, for little return on your investment.

Sometimes this is just the result of using an inexperienced Google Ads manager.

Unfortunately, however, there are agencies in our world who run Google Ads so they benefit themselves far more than their clients. We can’t say for sure whether they’re unscrupulous or just incompetent… but we have our suspicions.

This article looks at some of the ways in which agencies can get your Google Ads wrong (deliberately or not) and how you can spot the problem before it costs you too much money.

Lack of transparency

Whenever an agency is spending your money, there should be absolute transparency about what they’re doing and how this is benefiting you.

Google Ads account ownership

Some agencies will set up your Google Ads in their own account, not yours, and won’t give you access.

For some agencies it’s a policy to manage all Google Ads from their own account, but if this is the case you should at least have access to all the data about your ads, to allow you to interrogate it yourself.

Ideally, however, the agency should set up the Google Ads in an account that you own. That way you retain full control and, should you and the agency go your separate ways, you can re-use the adverts without having to set them up again from scratch,

Agreeing search terms

The Google Ads search terms are the phrases which users type into Google which will trigger your advert to appear.

You’ll often see spam emails promising to get you to the “top of Google” and some ad agencies will make the same promises.

The idea of being top of Google is great, in principle, but you need to ask the question “What search terms are we top of Google for?”

If your agency lacks transparency then you might not know the answer, and this is a problem.

In the past we’ve seen agencies who have only placed ads against unusual search terms, probably not the ones their clients need to target.

Why would they do this?

Because the cost per click on these unusual, less competitive search terms will be much lower. And, if they’re not giving you the full picture about what your money is being spent on, this gives them the opportunity to make a tidy profit at your expense. Which brings us on to our next red flag…

Clarity about what you’re paying for

Agencies will charge you for two things when running your Google Ads.

Firstly, they’ll charge you for their time in managing the campaigns. Secondly, they’ll charge you for each time someone clicks on your advert.

This is all fine (and is standard practice), however the problems start when agencies don’t tell you how much of what you’re paying is going on management fees and how much on your clicks.

This creates an immediate conflict of interest because it incentivises the agency to show your ads for low-cost clicks (unusual/uncompetitive search terms) because the cost per click is lower. They can then put a much higher proportion of what you’re paying into their pocket as management fee.

If an agency refuses to divulge how much of what you’re paying is management fee and how much is ad click budget, this is definitely one to walk away from.

Beware of what jargon might be disguising

There’s a lot of jargon associated with Google Ads. A LOT.

“Ad rank”. “Search network only”. “Campaign”. “CPM”. “Billing threshold”. “Ad group”. “CTR”. “Bid strategy”. “Display network only”. “Keywords”. “CPC”. “Ad extensions”. “PPC”. “Impressions”.

The list goes on and on.

However, you shouldn’t be expected to understand these terms (in the same way that you wouldn’t expect us to immediately understand the jargon from your industry). If your agency starts to throw jargon at you, ask them to explain it properly and, importantly, how it relates back to your business objectives.

The data you should receive

So what should a good agency share with you?

You should expect the following:

  • Sign off on the wording of every advert before it goes live.
  • Agreement about which locations you’re targeting – an ecommerce business probably needs to be country-wide, but a solicitor will might only want to advertise in their local catchment area.
  • Regular (probably monthly) reporting on:
    • Number of clicks on your adverts
    • Cost per click
    • The search terms that triggered the adverts that received clicks
    • The conversion rate (e.g. ecommerce sales, contact form completions, clicks on your phone number)
Takeaway: Don’t work with any agency that isn’t happy to give you the full picture about how they’re spending your money.

Posting ads when people search for your brand/company name

Now, first and foremost, we should say that this is not always a bad thing to do. If, for example, a competitor’s advertising when someone searches for your brand name, then running your own ads to drown them out may well be a good tactic.

However, advertising against your own brand or company name should only be done when there’s a good reason for it. If your advertising agency are doing this, make sure you ask them what that good reason is.

Read more about running ads for your own brand name.

Why could this be problem?

The issue comes with the fact that when someone searches for you by name (eg “Tomango brand agency”) they are highly likely to click on the first thing they see that takes them to your website.

Normally, this would be your website’s listing in the organic (unpaid) search results.

But if you’re advertising, then your ad will appear above the organic search results, so will receive more clicks.

Your ad agency can proudly show what a fantastic conversion rate it has (in terms of the proportion of people searching who then click on your ads). But, of course, these people would have ended up on your website anyway, even if the ads weren’t running, because they were looking specifically for you and would have clicked on your organic search result (which wouldn’t have cost you anything).

BC SoftWear Google Ad
Generally we don’t recommend Google Ads when someone searches for you by name. However, in this case, our client (BC SoftWear) has a distributor (Salons Direct) running adverts when someone searches for “bc softwear”. There’s a risk that someone will click on their advert, rather than the BC SoftWear organic listing immediately below it. Therefore, we’re running ads to make sure BC SoftWear themselves always appear at the top.
Takeaway: Search for your company/brand name and see if your ads appear. If they do, ask your agency why they’ve chosen to do this – they should be happy to give you an explanation.

Not weeding out unconvertable clicks

This is another way in which an agency could choose to get you more clicks, more cheaply, but without delivering the right type of enquiries. It’s putting quantity over quality – which might look good in reports but doesn’t give you the return on investment you’re looking for.

In Google Ads, as well as saying which search terms you want your ad to appear for, you can also say which search terms you don’t want it to appear for. This stops you paying for clicks from people searching for something irrelevant, or who are unlikely to ever convert.

For example, we were running an ad campaign for a cosmetic mole removal company in Tunbridge Wells. We displayed their ads when someone searched for “mole removal tunbridge wells”. We spotted another ad running against the same search term – for a furniture removals company! Any clicks on their advert would have been a complete waste of money.

Another, more complex, example is a company who sells high end, handmade kitchens. When running their advert we’re careful to remove any search terms such as “wickes kitchen” or “ikea kitchen” because people looking for these are highly unlikely to have the budget for a bespoke kitchen, so we don’t want to risk the client paying for clicks which won’t convert.

Google Ads for "hotel maidstone" search
Here we’ve searched for hotels in Maidstone. As you can see, the Google Ads include budget options such as Travelodge and Premier Inn.
Google Ads for "luxury hotel maidstone" search
If we amend the search to luxury hotels in Maidstone, the budget hotel options no longer appear. This is because they know that someone searching for a luxury hotel is unlikely to want to stay in a Travelodge, therefore advertising against this search term could cost them money for clicks which will never convert.

Your Google Ads agency should make an effort to really understand your business, your objectives, your services/products and your position in the market. If they aren’t asking these types of questions then they won’t have the knowledge to run the best campaigns for you.

Takeaway: Make sure you receive reports showing which search terms triggered your adverts to appear and check they are all relevant.

Where is your ad?

One of the simplest things to do is search in Google and see if your ad appears (DON’T CLICK ON IT – or you’ll end up paying for your own click!).

Your ad won’t appear every time. If you have a limited daily budget and look for your ads later in the day they might not appear because that day’s budget has run out. However, if your ad consistently fails to appear, then challenge your agency about why this is.

And look at where on the page your ad is appearing. Is it at the bottom of page 1? The cost per click will be cheaper for ads down there, but the click through rate is low and you’ll probably get lower conversion rates. If your ads are always at the bottom, challenge your agency about why this is.

Your ad might not even be on page 1, it might be on page 2. It’s virtually (though not completely) pointless to run ads on page 2, so again you should challenge your agency about why they’re adopting this strategy.

We should add, at this point, that we’re very happy to be challenged by our own clients! Often we just need to provide a bit of additional explanation, but sometimes the conversation will give us some fresh insights and ideas to help improve the ads further. So don’t be afraid to speak up.

Takeaway: Look for your ads on Google and challenge your agency if they’re not appearing in a good position on page 1.

Should you use an agency at all?

So, having taken you through the murky world of how you could be ripped off by a Google Ads agency, does that mean you shouldn’t use one at all?

Absolutely not! The right Google Ads agency will bring a huge amount of experience and expertise to your adverts and ensure that you’re getting every drop of benefit from them.

Managing them yourself can be a real headache. They’re complicated to set up, the Google Ads support team will keep calling you about “optimising” them (though this is primarily about helping Google to make more money from them) and we have seen them spiral out of control without proper management.

It’s not so much a question of whether you should use an agency, but of finding the right agency.

If you think we could be the right agency to manage your Google Ads in Sussex or further afield, give us a call on 01273 814 019 or email hello@tomango.co.uk.